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Glasgow unclear on child protection

Child-protection services in Glasgow are not as clear as they should be, about when a case becomes serious enough to take action.

An HMIE report, published last week, found that consistent arrangements were needed for identifying and meeting the needs of vulnerable individual children, including unborn babies. Inspectors have demanded assurances that staff and managers across services are clear and consistent about when to initiate child-protection procedures.

They also called for the immediate establishment of "appropriate arrangements" for the medical examination of children at the centre of concerns, and insisted that health staff be involved in initial discussions about all such children.

A mixed picture emerged of the city's child protection services, which received four "very good" ratings, 10 "good", two "satisfactory" and two "weak".

Children felt safe in schools and their concerns were dealt with quickly. Other areas praised included: promotion of public awareness; local management reviews and child-protection forums for staff; strong vision, values and aims to guide staff; high priority given to child protection in council modernisation plans; and strong leadership by elected members and chief officers.

A spokesman for Glasgow child protection services said they were acting on each of the report's five main recommendations, and changes had already been made in response to three of these.

All medical examinations are now conducted at a specialist child-friendly unit in the Royal Hospital for Sick Children at Yorkhill. Health staff are involved in initial referral discussions, and a paediatrician routinely called in. Steps have been taken to tighten procedures around vulnerable pregnant women.

A new service known as "comprehensive medical assessment" is being introduced across the city. This will see concerns from social work about the health and well-being of a child followed up by a consultant paediatrician.

"This report represents a positive statement on child protection services in Glasgow and highlights many strengths in the work of services to keep children safe," the spokesman said.

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